Be The Adult You Needed by Namita Prabhukolwalkar

Kya aapko yaad he? Apna nanha khelta kudta bachpan.
Laddoo aur chocolate khane me,
daadi ki kahani me; beeta hua bachpan.
Maa-Baap k pyar se buna hua bachpan.
Rone-Hasaane wala, zidd puri karane wala.
Rangeen khel khilono se bhara hua.
Aam-jamun todne wala.
Chutiyon me doston k saath khub khelne wala
Kya aapko yaad he? Apna nanha khelta kudta bachpan.

1. Start with a lively recital of the piece above or play the illustrative last story bit from the movie ‘Tamasha’. Make the crowd of adults close their eyes and draw on their experiences from childhood. Then, pose the question – How many of them speak to their kids every day? How many of them listen to every story and detail of their kid’s day? This will be a realisation point for many of the adults in the room because these small frequent instances are the ones we seem to miss in our daily lives.

2. Proceed with a brief about the statistics of the rampant child abuse (Example – 53.22% kids face some form of child abuse). Point out that in 95% cases the offender is known to the child. Remind the adults that It is their responsibility to protect the children around them and make them feel safe.

3. Then move the question of How do we educate our children? (Explain the adults to use any of the following methods and invite them to innovate other creative methods)

a. By playing a game with their kid/ kids around them
Talk to the child about the new people they meet by telling them about the positive people you come across. Make the child describe the people that the child is interacting with. Notice if the child is scared or anxious or paranoid about any particular person they are in regular contact with. This is also a good way to sieve the child’s social group from bullies.
b. By creating a ritual/ habit.
Inculcate a writing habit / praying habit in the child. This will provide the child a channel for asking for help/ writing about something negative or untoward such as abuse. As a parent/guardian/adult become a part of this ritual. This will also a good way to sit with the child and deal with their insecurities.
c. By story-telling.
Most kids love stories. Use that as a tool to introduce the child to the concept of abuse. Teach the child about good touch and bad touch.
d. Group Children activities.
Make/Suggest group activities around the concept of good touch and bad touch in your social groups to benefit more children including yours. Also, this helps because it builds a sense of support amongst children. It helps children to learn better and reduces the stigma that our society projects on such topics. It is also a good way to get the child to speak to you about instances which happened to a friend that they may have come across. It also equips them with tools through activities (Example – Teach them to walk in pairs/ scream in someone notices bad touch)
4. It is essential in the present times that the child knows and learns about such topics in a safe space. Invest atleast one hour of your day with the child to create this safe space for conversation. Communication is an integral part of protecting the innocence of children and childhood. Therefore, talk to your child and teach your child to take action by telling an adult. Create a transparent system with your child.
5. Stress on the importance of Taking Action. Explain that as adults of our society it is our responsibility to protect children who are a vulnerable group to abusers. Stress that Action starts from you. Elaborate on how when they were children – they were looked after and protected. Also, It might help to mention that Be the Adult/Mentor you think you would have needed.

(image credits – google images)

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